Greek parliament approves more tax rises and pension cuts

19 May 17

Greek lawmakers have backed further controversial austerity measures in a vote that could end a more than six-month delay to the country’s bailout programme.

 

More tax rises and pension cuts were approved by the Greek parliament yesterday as anti-austerity protests raged outside. Workers nationwide also took part in a general strike on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the measures.

Athens’ creditors had required the measures in order to deliver the next round of bailout funding for Greece, which the country needs to make loan payments due in July.

An impasse between Greece, its European Union creditors and the International Monetary Fund left many concerned the bailout would be halted, raising the spectre of a potential Greek exit from the eurozone.

Following the vote, the BBC reported Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras as saying that Greece had done its part, and now expected its lenders to deliver the next tranche of funding and agree to debt relief for Greece.

“It’s their turn to fulfil commitments, just like we did,” he said. “We deserve and we expect from Monday’s Eurogroup a decision regulating debt relief, which will correspond to the sacrifices of the Greek people.”

He was referring to a meeting of the eurozone’s finances ministers next week, where a decision on whether Greece has done enough to receive the due €7.5bn loan.

As Athens has now legislated for the measures creditors required this is expected to go ahead.

However the contentious issue of more substantial debt relief – which the IMF requires before it will agree to back the programme, but is being resisted by the EU – could prove tricky, especially after the Greek economy fell back into recession at the start of the year. 

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